Drink spiking, security staff shortages, staff welfare, financial pressures and women’s safety are just some of the challenges faced by operators in Nottingham’s night-time economy.
DHP Family Area Manager Michele Somers is playing a key role in tackling these issues to improve Nottingham’s night-time economy to ensure it offers a safe night out for both customers and staff as well as improving its standing as an important economic driver for the city.
Nottingham Pubwatch, chaired by Michele, has been named National Pubwatch of the Year in recognition of its impact on creating a safe night out in the city for customers and staff. At a ceremony at the House of Lords earlier this week, Michele and committee member James Slater, Venue Leader at Nottingham Trent Students Union, received the national accolade.
Nottingham Pubwatch was recognised for its strong partnerships, collaboration and working relationships with key stakeholders including Nottingham City Council, It’s In Nottingham, Nottinghamshire Police and street pastors. Running for 30 years, a new committee headed up by Michele was formed 18 months ago working to champion the night-time economy and the thousands of people it employs. The committee is comprised of a diverse group of industry professionals – David Lucas (Lucas Licensing LTD), Katie Cartwright (Roxy Ball Room), Alana Maltby (The Lost City Adventure Golf), Vicki Anderson (Castle Rock), Jamie Barnes (Box), Julie Tippins (DHP Family), Craig Pennington ( Lord Roberts), Jo Cox-Brown (Night-time Economy Solutions Ltd) and James Slater Nottingham Trent SU). Nottingham Pubwatch was recognised for its strong partnerships, collaboration and working relationships with key stakeholders including Nottingham City Council, It’s In Nottingham, Nottinghamshire Police and street pastors. Running for 30 years, a new committee headed up by Michele was formed 18 months ago working to champion the night-time economy and the thousands of people it employs.
Michele said: “The committee has worked hard to establish Nottingham Pubwatch as a place for community and sharing of best practice to keep Nottingham’s night-time economy thriving. Winning the National Pubwatch Award is a huge honour. It is a testament of the dedication of members who have worked tirelessly, in collaboration with stakeholders to make Nottingham’s vibrant nightlife a safe and inclusive destination for all.”
The partnership approach is already paying dividends in bringing together Nottingham’s operators of licensed premises – which include several hundred pubs, clubs, live music venues, hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues – to tackle issues including drink spiking, staff training and customer safety.
Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis said: “Congrats to Nottingham Pubwatch and its chair, Michele Somers, for winning this award showing the dedication and hard work of everyone involved. Thank you for your continuing work making spaces of social interaction, drinking and entertainment into safe places for everyone to enjoy”
Nottingham MP Lilian Greenwood said: “I’d like to offer huge congratulations to Michele Somers and the whole Nottingham Pubwatch team on winning this brilliant award. Having seen first-hand the hard work the team do to ensure that people have safe, secure and inclusive places in which to drink, socialise and work in our city, I know that this award is very much deserved.”
As well as chairing Pubwatch, Michele – along with James – has been appointed Night Time Economy Ambassador for Nottingham by the national trade body, The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA). They are among 30 NTE Ambassadors, representing major cities across the UK, who will play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the industry and policymakers, fostering collaboration, and ensuring that cities thrive not only during the day but also after sunset.
Michele added: “I’m very passionate about championing the night-time economy and showcasing the amount of talent there is working within it. We work in a very undervalued industry, I’d love to change that. I want to highlight how creative, resilient and inspiring the people working across the sector are and empower operators by providing solutions and sharing best practice.
“Unlike some other major cities, Nottingham doesn’t have a Night-Time Economy Manager or Night Czar so there isn’t anyone whose specific job is to look after the NTE. As an ambassador with James, I hope we can make sure that Nottingham’s vibrant NTE continues to thrive and we can build a community of business operators that feel informed, considered and supported.”
NTE Ambassador James Slater added: “Nottingham is an incredibly vibrant, independent, forward-thinking and proud city, with diverse pockets of culture around every corner. A city that wants to be heard and celebrated for its differences. Representation on this level will ensure the city’s concerns are considered in national discussions, advocating for policies that benefit the way in which our city works best. Providing support and solutions, particularly during challenging times or as we face new and emerging issues locally and nationally, NTIA representation will shine a spotlight on the things that matter to Nottingham, providing us that voice centre stage.”
The National Pubwatch of the Year Award, which is judged by members of the National Pubwatch Committee, recognises the work of local Pubwatch schemes and their efforts to provide safe drinking environments for customers and staff.
National Pubwatch chairman Steve Baker OBE said: “Nottingham Pubwatch was a worthy winner of this years’ award. Its focus on partnership working and collaboration has made Nottingham a safer environment for consumers and workers.
“The National Pubwatch Awards are so important in recognising the hard work of pubwatches, their members and individuals, in ensuring we have a safe pub and licensed trade for customers and staff.”
National Pubwatch is a voluntary organisation, which supports more than 800 Pubwatch schemes across the UK, and works to promote safe, secure and social drinking environments in all licensed premises throughout the UK.